Wednesday, May 11, 2011


An awkward lie in a bunker at Balgownie's 10th hole for Fraserburgh's Kris Nicol but he manages, despite his one leg in, one leg out stance to extricate the ball from the sand. Image by Cal Carson Golf Agency.

Welshman Nigel Edwards, captain of the Great Britain and Ireland squad for September's Walker Cup match against the United States at Royal Aberdeen, said it had been a "productive session" at the end of the first day of a three-day practice match for 16 of the possible team of 10 over the classic Balgownie links.
Scottish champion Michael Stewart (Troon Welbeck) is absent from the get-together which is just as important for developing team spirit as it is for getting to know the course. He has a wrist injury.
But the three Scots who did play - Ross Kellett (Colville Park), pictured on short 11th tee by Cal Carson Golf Agency, Fraserburgh's Kris Nicol and late call-up David Law (Hazlehead), pictured below, who won the Scottish boys championship over the Royal Aberdeen course two years ago - all said they had enjoyed themselves on an afternoon of sunshine/cloud/a strong and cool wind from the south-east/rain/hailstones - a typical Scottish spring day, in fact!

Law's call-up was not so late as that involving Ireland's Kevin Phelan, a student at North Florida University. He was still at Dublin Airport at noon but was on the first tee at Balgownie by 2.30pm.
R and A championships official Rhodri Price, himself a former Welsh international, named the two teams of eight - "Ganton" and "Nairn" ... after the venues for the last two wins by GB and I over the Americans.
Only foursomes were played on the first afternoon but each match was divided into two nine-holes with 1pt for winning the first nine holes, another 1pt for winning the second nine holes and 2pt for winning the overall 18-hole match.
You needed a degree in advanced mathematics to tell who was winning and losing but, according to Rhodri Price, it is Nairn 9, Ganton 7 going into Day 2's programme of morning foursomes and afternoon singles.
"The Royal Aberdeen Club have been most welcoming and all the lads have entered into the spirit of the match. They all seem to have liked the course," said captain Edwards.
"I've been here before but most of the players have not. It's a links that requires a player to be patient. The entrances to some of the greens are quite narrow so you've got to be accurate with your approaches.
"I don't think playing it at the Royal Aberdeen links will be any great advantage to us, to be honest. All the Americans will be very good players and very good players can play on any kind of course.
"I am looking forward to our next trip up here which will be in July when the course should be a lot firmer and bouncier."
Only Stiggy Hodgson of Sunningale of the advance squad of 16 in Aberdeen this week has experience of playing in a Walker Cup match. 
Hodgson had a bizarre experience at the 10th hole this afternoon. Left with a straight forward little pitch from just off the green, he moved the ball only an inch or two. Why?
The grip of Stiggy's club, above where he was holding it, stuck in his waterproofs around the middle on his downswing.Result, he struck the ball only a glancing blow. Embarrassing but fortunately it was only a practice match!
TIME NOTE: The first of the foursomes teed off at 2pm and the last around 2.30pm, delayed until Kevan Phelan arrived from the airport. Yet all four matches, played over 18 holes, and averaging 3 1/2 hours each, were off the 18th green by 6 o'clock. Well played!

The Walker Cup match will be played on Saturday and Sunday, September 10 and 11. Tickets are on sale now.




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